Perfect Power bids to answer a significant stamina question on his return to action in the Watership Down Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
Trained by Richard Fahey, last season’s Norfolk Stakes winner progressed to take two Group One contests – the Prix Morny at Deauville and the Middle Park at Newmarket.
Christophe Soumillon maintains his partnership with the talented son of Ardad, who has yet to race beyond six furlongs.
Fahey admits the straight seven-furlong test at the Berkshire track will determine whether or not he will take on Native Trail in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
“It is a fact-finding mission, really,” said Fahey.
“He has to step up from six (furlongs), but he has been working really well and we are happy with him, and we will know where we are going after this.
“They have let him in without a Group One penalty, so it gives him a chance to have a run.
“You have to think the Guineas would be an option if he came through this.
“He will go on any ground – he has won on fast and won on slow – no excuses, anyway.
“We are very pleased with him and he has strengthened up and progressed well. We are very pleased.”
Having won the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc day at ParisLongchamp and then come from last to first to complete a French Group One double in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October, Angel Bleu figures to have a leading chance.
However, Kimpton trainer Ralph Beckett is concerned about the quicker ground he is likely to encounter as the son of Dark Angel starts his three-year-old campaign.
“I think it is a good starting place for him and that is the way we will be approach it,” said Beckett.
“He is healthy and ready to go, the ground is obviously drying but he has got to start somewhere.
“It is going to be tough. Perfect Power is going to be difficult to beat, but we’re in good from and looking forward to it.”
Richard Hannon saddles both Gubbass and Lusail, who are both by Mehmas.
Lusail won a pair of six-furlong Group Two contests – the July Stakes at Newmarket and the Gimcrack at York – before finishing last of four in the Champagne Stakes on good to soft ground at Doncaster when upped to seven furlongs.
Gubbass, who won the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury, was not beaten far in the Group Two Richmond Stakes and by Perfect Power at Deauville, before ending his campaign with a disappointing run in the Mill Reef at Newbury.
Hannon said: “Gubbass and Lusail are both in good form. Lusail had a good year last year and he is working very well. I’m very happy with him.
“The ground should be fine for him. Whether he is going to get a mile in time, we will learn on Saturday. It was soft ground (at Doncaster) and he was wheel-spinning the whole way. He hated it. So he will be avoiding any ground with the word ‘soft’ in it from now on.
“Gubbass is a good horse and he also had a good year, but he might be on a recovery mission after his last run.
“He ran well at Goodwood and in the Morny as well. They have both grown and done physically very well.”
Stan Moore is never daunted by a challenge and expects The Wizard Of Eye to make his presence felt.
Though the son of Galileo Gold won just once in his juvenile campaign, that success came in July at the Berkshire track and he went on to finish a close-up fifth to Angel Bleu in the Lagardere.
He has already run this season, finishing seventh in the Saudi Derby on the dirt in Riyadh.
The Wizard Of Eye is 66-1 with Coral for the Guineas and Moore is keen to see if the weekend will answer a few questions.
“He went over to Richard Hannon’s for a gallop, just for a change to get him away and we were very pleased with the work,” he said.
“John Egan came down and rode him and was over the moon with him. He is still a big, raw horse who will make natural improvement, but he should put up a big show.”
The Lambourn trainer, who earned Group One success in the 2009 Prix de l’Abbaye with Total Gallery, added: “In the Saudi Derby he was only beaten 11 lengths on his first time on the dirt and he took some kickback in the first two furlongs. I think it made a bit of a man of him.
“So I think he will go and he will have a fighting chance. He is not going for a day out.
“There are some good horses in the Greenham, but he is a good horse, too.
“He is a fantastic-moving horse and he covers a lot of ground. We had to put the (measuring) stick on him last year because Hong Kong people were interested in him. He was just over 17 hands as a two-year-old.
“He has filled out his frame a bit more and he is going to get better as he gets older. He will probably be a better horse in the second half of the season than the first half.
“He is in the three Guineas – the English, Irish and German.
“Probably the Greenham will tell you where he needs to go next. He needs to give them a run for their money if he is to go for the English or Irish Guineas. I think he will get a mile. In any race, he can hold a position. He has a very high cruising speed.
“He is able to sit in on a fast pace comfortably and it doesn’t take it out of him.
“He’ll put it to them, anyway.”
Flaming Rib will have his first outing for Hugo Palmer having previously been trained by Tom Dascombe.
Palmer took over the tenancy at Manor House Stables earlier in the year after Dascombe departed his role there and Flaming Rib, who is co-owned by Michael Owen – the yard’s landlord – stayed put.
The colt tallied up four consecutive six-furlong victories towards the end of of last term and is now stepping up in trip for his first start for Palmer.
“I haven’t known him all that well, but he’s been training really nicely and I’m very pleased with him,” said Palmer.
“He’s an attractive horse, quite a light-framed horse, he doesn’t look like a big, muscular sprinter and his pedigree says that he should stay.
“He may even get a mile, but if he were to do that we would have to change his run style a little bit.
“We’ll just see, we might be barking up the wrong tree and it might not work but I thought seven furlongs in the Greenham was the right place to start.
“If he ran very well he could go to the French Guineas and if not, he could be a Jersey horse or he could come back sprinting.”